The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame

The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame

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When Gray's Anatomy appeared in 1858, contemporaries immediately recognized that it was a departure from anything that had come before. Sales were brisk, and the book rapidly became not just a bestseller, but the standard work. Created by two young men in only two years in the mid-nineteenth century, Gray's Anatomy is the only textbook of human anatomy continuously in print for the last 150 years. Commemorating this remarkable anniversary, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy tells the fascinating story of the origin of this groundbreaking book. Providing a wealth of historical context, Dr. Ruth Richardson examines both the mid-Victorian medical world in which Henry Gray and the brilliant illustrator Henry Vandyke Carter operated and the vigorous publishing industry in London at that time. Along the way, Richardson explores the scientific and cultural life of the medical school dissecting room and dead house, as well as the lives of those whose corpses ended up on the slab. The very different personalities and life-stories of Gray and Carter emerge in the telling, as do those of their publishers, and the many other individuals who were involved in the making of the book itself. Indeed, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy investigates the entire production process--from the book's conception in 1855 to its reception by the medical press in 1858--via typesetters, wood-engravers, steam printers, paper and printing-ink suppliers, paper-folders, stitchers and bookbinders. Here we encounter individuals motivated by money, vanity, altruism, scientific discovery, professional pride, and the quest for faith and fame. Vividly written and painstakingly researched, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy illuminates a vibrant human document, one that has guided medical students for a century and a half.

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